Black Devil Disco Club: Eight Oh Eight
Lo Recordings

On paper, Eight Oh Eight can't help but seem a strange release. The third and supposedly final part in the “Black Devil Cosmic trilogy” arrives a mere two years after the second (28 After) but thirty years after the first (re-released on Aphex Twin's Rephlex in 2004). Some questioned the authenticity of this supposedly long-lost ‘Italo disco' classic, surmising that something so “modern” couldn't possibly have been produced in 1978, and suggesting that it might be the work of pranksters Richard James and Luke Vibert. As it turns out, the man behind the mask is French producer Bernard Fevre (known to some as the creator of 1975's The Strange World of Bernard Fevre) though there's some hint that that might be a ruse. Regardless, it doesn't take much to imagine the throbbing material roaring from the DJ booth at Studio 54 in the ‘70s. “With Honey Cream” layers Fevre's falsetto vocals over pulsating streams of hot-wired synths while “For Hoped” adds funk to BDDC's churning groove. “Open the Night” pushes the vocal envelope to a further extreme by shadowing the regularly-pitched vocal with an android's growl. Though it's generally solid all the way through, the steamrolling “Never No Dollars” stands out for adding Latin fever to its synth stabs and whooshes. Admittedly the falsetto vocals are, at least initially, a bit of an acquired taste but—perverse though it may be—they grow more appealing with each successive listen. Fill six tracks of warped disco with congas, robotic disco grooves, light-speed bass lines, and snarling analogue synths and Eight Oh Eight's the result.

August 2008